INDIANAPOLIS – To some, it might have sounded brash.
Ask those that play the position or coach it, and any other mindset would be a sign of caution.
D'Joun Smith is a cornerback, and exuding confidence is a must.
"Under the right tutelage and the right coach that's going to make my technique even better, I'm probably going to be the best cornerback to play the game," Smith said after being drafted by the Colts earlier this month.
Chuck Pagano, who is a veteran of coaching defensive backs at the NFL level, is just fine with Smith's assertion.
"You don't want a meek kind of milquetoast type of guy sitting there," Pagano says of cornerbacks. "This sucker was on the edge of the seat in his (Combine) interview. When he came in, it was all business.
"This guy truly believes. At the time when we asked him who the best corner in the draft this year and he said, 'It's me.' He plays with a chip on his shoulder. It's because I think everybody's probably told this kid you're too short, you're too this, you're too that. He plays with a chip on his shoulder, and he's got great confidence. You have to have it to play that position."
Smith has walked into a Colts cornerbacks room, and a defensive backfield in general, filled with veteran experience.
That opportunity to be a sponge isn't lost on the 5-11, 190-pound rookie.
"When you have these veterans who have been in the game for a long period of time, they put your wisdom to you," Smith said. "It makes it easier when you've got them on your side to grasp the concepts the coaches are teaching.
"They take us to the simulator, make sure we get the play calls down. I know this team is all on one accord. We want to go win a Super Bowl and the guys are just bringing us in and is helping the transition even more."
If the Colts defensive backfield runs out a starting lineup of Vontae Davis, Greg Toler, Mike Adams and Dwight Lowery come Week One, that quartet has 30 years and 393 career games of NFL experience.
With Darius Butler (another veteran) in the nickel, Smith knows his immediate playing time in 2015 could begin as a core special teams player.
However, if one of those cornerbacks goes down, Smith could quickly go from mainly a special teamer to hardly coming off the field defensively.
"That's why we've got to get everybody ready," Adams said of Smith.
"We do a lot of things just to get the guys ready, on our own. 'Hey, what is this, this and this?' That's what will help the young guys come a long way and make them feel comfortable because guys usually don't do that. We could sabotage them. 'He's trying to come for my job so I ain't telling them nothing.' It's not that kind of thing. We are all in this together trying to get this Super Bowl."
During the Colts rookie mini-camp, Smith lined up on the right, left and in the slot defensively, beginning his preparation amongst a secondary with plenty of knowledge.
"I love DJ's attitude," Toler said last week. "He's come in here willing to learn. All the guys told him if you have any questions we are more than willing to help him. He's just hungry. We love that.
"With offenses spreading the ball more with four receivers, five receivers, he's got to be ready."
Organized Team Activities (OTA) - Week 5 - Part 1